U.S. moves to drop visa fraud charges against Chinese researcher

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The U.S. Justice Department moved on Thursday to drop all charges against a Chinese researcher arrested last year over visa fraud in its “China Initiative” that aims to prevent the transfer of U.S. technology.

Tang Juan, a visiting researcher at the University of California Davis school of medicine, whose jury trial was set to start on Monday, was arrested in July last year for allegedly concealing her military affiliation.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, prosecutors said they were moving to dismiss the indictment and vacate the trial, but gave no reasons.

The step comes after the defense called on Monday for the case to be dismissed, based on recently disclosed evidence of a report by FBI analysts that questioned if the visa application question on “military service” was clear enough for Chinese medical scientists at military universities and hospitals.

At least five Chinese researchers were arrested last year over the issue and two are still in jail.

Civil liberties groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Asian Law Caucus, have voiced concern about the cases, saying they reflect anti-China bias.

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